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How do I change my tax address in Spain and when is it illegal?

If you're a tax resident in Spain you will have a fiscal address in a particular Spanish region, but what if you want to change this tax address? When should you do it and when not? And what does the process involve?

changing your tax address in Spain
iIf you need to change your tax address to another region in Spain because you moved house or changed jobs it’s perfectly legal. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images/AFP

In recent years, Spanish tax inspectors have been stepping up their investigations into irregular address changes and may ask taxpayers in Spain to prove their tax address to make sure they’re complying with the law.

In a Spanish tax report published in June 2021, more than half of the 900 Spanish tax advisors interviewed said they believed that changes of fiscal address to another country or region in Spain were primarily theoretical, so only on paper without physically moving.

READ ALSO: More than half of tax address changes in Spain are fake

But it’s important to remember that in many cases notifying your change of tax address is both necessary and important. Here’s what you need to know. 

What is your fiscal address (domicilio fiscal)?

If you live for more than 183 days per year in Spain you will be considered a tax resident. Your fiscal address or tax domicile is the address where you’re registered for tax purposes, even if you’re not working.

By default, your tax address is registered as being in the region in Spain where you habitually live for most of the year, however, it could also depend on other factors including:

  • Which region you spend the greatest number of days a year in.
  • Where your main centre of interests lie such as where your family live and where you work.
  • Where you last declared your income tax from.

If you work in one region but live in another for example, or split your time equally between properties in two different regions, this could be a bit of a grey area and the best thing to do would be to contact a gestor or a tax lawyer to get advice as to where you are registered for tax purposes.

READ ALSO – Reader question: Can I be a non-resident for tax purposes with Spain’s non-lucrative visa?

Why does updating a change of fiscal address matter in Spain?

While national taxes are the same for everyone, regional taxes are not and they can differ quite a bit depending on which region of Spain you live in.

For example, according to a recent study by the General Council of Economists ‘Panorama of Autonomous and Provincial Taxation 2020’, in Extremadura and in the Valencian Community you pay more for inheritance, donation and wealth taxes, compared to Cantabria or Madrid, where you pay very little or nothing.

barrio de salamanca madrid
Madrid has the most favourable tax conditions in Spain, but you can’t just change your fiscal address to the Spanish capital without actually moving or working there. Photo: ccsmith85/Flickr

There are also important regional differences in personal income tax. In Madrid, you pay between 9 and 21 percent, whereas in Catalonia, you pay between 12 and 25.5 percent.

READ ALSO: Why you should move to this region in Spain if you want to pay less tax

As a result of these differences, some people decide to move to a different region in order to avoid paying more tax, while others simply try and change their fiscal address to a different region, even when they don’t actually live or work there.  

Is changing your fiscal address in Spain legal or illegal?

If you simply want to change your fiscal address to a different region in order to deliberately pay less tax or benefit from more favourable tax laws in another region, then no, this is not legal.

If found out, you could face prosecution and hefty fines from the Spanish Tax Agency. These penalties can vary but when Hacienda considers it to be a “serious” case of fraud, the fine can be higher than €30,000 and for “very serious” cases it can be above €300,000.

However, if you need to change your tax address to another region because you moved house or changed jobs, then you’re required to change it and it’s perfectly legal.

Even if you don’t move to another region with different fiscal requirements and just move to another part of your city or province, you should technically make sure to change your fiscal address as Spain’s tax agency needs to have an updated address to which to send you notifications by post.

This applies to contracted workers and in particular self-employed workers, as they are entirely responsible for handling their own fiscal matters. 

If you simply forget to change it and are not purposely trying to defraud the Tax Agency, you could still be fined €100, so make sure that you remember. 

READ ALSO – Reader question: Can I be a resident in Spain and the UK?

How can I request a change of tax address? 

If you meet the conditions, such as moving to another part of Spain or workplace, requesting a change of tax address is simple and mandatory.

One of the easiest ways to do this is online on the Tax Agency’s own website and can be done if you have a Digital Certificate or [email protected] account. You can find the page here.

READ ALSO – Access all areas: how to get a digital certificate in Spain to aid online processes

You will need to enter your NIF número de identificación fiscal (fiscal identification number) which is the same as your NIE and then check that your personal details such as name, date and place of birth etc. are correct.  

Under these details, you’ll see three buttons – the one on the left says ‘Cambio de Domicilo Fiscal’ (change tax address). Click on this and then update your new address details, before clicking on ‘Confirmar Modificacion’ (confirm modification).  

This is the screen you’ll see when you want to change your tax address. Source: Agencia Tributaria

If you do not have a Digital Certificate, you can download and present the Modelo 030 (form 30) in person at the Administration or Delegation of the Tax Agency that corresponds to you. You can find information on where to download it and how to fill it out here.  

If you are still having problems submitting your change of tax address, the Tax Agency has also set up a telephone number exclusively to process changes or modifications of tax addresses. The number is 901 200 345. 

An equally good alternative is to use the government’s cambio de domicilio (change of address) website, which will send your new address to different public administrations, such as the DGT traffic authorities, the social security department and of course the Agencia Tributaria tax agency. 

How to prove your tax address if Hacienda contacts you?

If for example, you live in one region but have your tax address in another due to your work or other reasons, this might raise flags with the Spain’s tax agency and you may need to prove your tax address so you don’t face problems.  

Keep in mind that if you don’t have your padrón (town hall registration) at the fiscal address you claim, Hacienda will not necessarily believe that you’re actually based there. 

There are several ways of proving that a home is indeed your fiscal address, such as showing your household receipts and bills.

Make sure to store these in case of the unlikely event that you are taken to court and need to prove where you spend the most amount of time.

In conclusion, it’s definitely not worth the risk of changing your fiscal address simply for tax benefits. 

If Spain’s Hacienda tax agency does open up an investigation against you and conclude your change of tax address was fake, apart from the possible penalties and blacklisting yourself on the system, you will have to pay back everything you saved in taxes.

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Spanish government divided over proposed menstruation leave bill

Talk of abortion policy reform and proposed menstrual leave has dominated Spanish discourse this week, but it’s also dividing Spain’s coalition government.

Spanish government divided over proposed menstruation leave bill

Spain’s PSOE-fronted coalition government recently outlined proposals that have dominated public discourse in the country.

But the legislation, which would allow women over the age of 16 to get abortions without the permission of their parents and introduce ‘menstruation leave’ for those suffering serious period pains, has not only divided Spanish society but the government itself.

The proposals would make Spain a leader in the Western world, and the first European Union member state to introduce menstrual leave, and changes to abortion law would overturn a 2015 law passed by the conservative People’s Party that forced women aged 16 and 17 to obtain parental consent.

The wide-ranging bill would also end VAT on menstrual products, increase the free distribution of them in schools, and allow between three and five days of leave each month for women who experience particularly painful periods.

READ MORE: What are Spain’s abortion laws for foreign residents and visitors?

Menstrual leave

Ángela Rodríguez, the Secretary of State for Equality, told Spanish newspaper El Periódico in March that “it’s important to be clear about what a painful period is – we’re not talking about slight discomfort, but about serious symptoms such as diarrhoea, fever and bad headaches.”

“When there’s a problem that can’t be solved medically, we think it’s very sensible to have temporary sick leave,” she added.

Cabinet politics

The proposals are slated for approval in cabinet next week, and judging by reports in the Spanish media this week, it is far from reaching a consensus. It is believed the intra-cabinet tensions stem not from the changes to abortion and contraception accessibility, but rather the proposed menstrual leave.

The junior coalition partner in government, Podemos, largely supports the bill, but it is believed some in the PSOE ranks are more sceptical about the symbolism and employment effects of the proposed period pain policy.

Vice President and Minister of Economic Affairs, Nadia Calviño, said this week: “Let me repeat it very clearly: this government believes and is absolutely committed to gender equality and we will never adopt measures that may result in a stigmatisation of women.”

Yet Second Vice President and Minister of Labour, Yolanda Díaz, who is viewed as further to the left than President Pedro Sánchez and other PSOE cabinet ministers, is reportedly “absolutely in favour” of the measure to reform Spain’s “deeply masculinised” labour market.

Sources in the Spanish media have this week also reported that some PSOE cabinet ministers feel the proposed paid leave not only plays up to stereotypes of women, or stigmatises them, like Calviño says, but also places them at a disadvantage in the world of work.

Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, José Luis Escrivá, stated that while the government should seek to improve women’s employment protections, it should also seek to boost their participation in the labour market under “better conditions.”

In that vein, some feel menstrual leave could be used a form of of employment discrimination similarly to how pregnancy has been historically, and the policy would, in that sense, actually be more regressive than progressive in enshrining women’s workplace rights. 

READ MORE: Spain eyes free contraception for under-25’s

Trade unions

Trade unions are also sceptical of the menstrual leave legislation. Cristina Antoñanzas, deputy secretary of UGT, one of Spain’s largest trade unions, has echoed those in the cabinet who feel the proposals could “stigmatise women.” She added that “it does women a disservice.”

Public opinion

A survey run by INTIMINA found that 67 percent of Spanish women are in favour of regulating menstrual leave, but also that 75 percent fear it is “a double-edged sword” that could generate labor discrimination.

The survey also found that 88 percent of women who suffer from disabling and frequent period pain have gone to work despite it. Seventy-one percent admitted that they have normalised working with pain.

Cabinet showdown

The proposed menstrual leave policy will be debated in cabinet next week when the Council of Ministers debates and approves the broader abortion and contraception reforms. According to sources in the Spanish media, and many cabinet ministers themselves, it seems a consensus on menstruation leave is a long way off.